Music To Watch Mountains By
I got up the noses of some senior members a few years back by condemning their water devices, the bladder things attached to soothers that they suck continuously. To slake a thirst you first need to be parched. These sucker things may well stave off the pain of thirst, but, paradoxically they also prevent its relief. Where is the moment of joy in that? It's part of the Decline of the West.. Why don't children experience Christmas as we did? Because when every day is Christmas, no day is Christmas. Which brings me to the intricate question of mountain aesthetics. I have a simple insight. The greatest mountain moments occur when beauty is revealed in a transformative instant without previews or warnings. When this happens after a gruelling struggle the relief, and therefore the joy, can be overwhelming. Of course we may seek to engineer these moments. Keeping our eyes fixed on the ground in front of us until the key moment, then sweeping around to take in the view. This artificial suspense is but a pale imitation of the sensation achieved when something very special is revealed suddenly and unexpectedly during or after struggle. Last Saturday, I was dragging myself along in the heat of a glorious June day, rationing my almost exhausted water, coming to the end of a long route in the Dunkerrons, when I was faced with the seemingly vertical south western face of Beann. I gritted my teeth and forced myself to take a few steps, then another few, and so on. It seemed never ending. But end it did. Not in usual way, with the gradient softening. No, One moment I was gasping and hauling my jaded bones up inch by inch: the next I was on a long grassy ridge, narrow enough to allow views on both sides, but just wide enough to give security. It was inexpressibly beautiful. A spring tide of airiness, of physical relief, of grandeur. Land and sea. Lakes of deepest blue. Rock twisted like frozen dough. Gentle warmth and gentle breeze. To be alive, and to be at peace. To be momentarily complete. This is beyond words. But it is not beyond music. The very next day I was driving my stiff and sore body home when a tune came on the radio that could have been written for that mountain, and that moment. Romantic in the true meaning of the word. Wistful because beauty is fleeting. Please move to YouTube for Chopin's Barcarolle (see link captioning the album cover). If you can spare the full nine and a half minutes please do. Otherwise begin at 5 minutes 57 seconds....Elevation takes many forms. Be elevated!